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Bike Check: Marco Osborne's Transition Spire

May 21, 2024
by Dario DiGiulio  
photo


In a world where more and more bikes have batteries, on-the-fly adjustments, and other fancy gizmos, Marco Osborne is running a relatively simple program. His race bike is a carbon Transition Spire, with a cable-actuated drivetrain, dropper post, and non-electronic suspension.

Not only is it pleasantly simple, but it's real damn fast to boot. Marco piloted his bike to a 10th place finish in Bielsko-Biała, putting his name back in the mix with the fastest riders on the hill. With a strong history in multi-day enduro racing, and great results on the national circuit, Marco is ready to be back on the European tour to try his hand at the world stage.

Marco had to take quite a while off the bike due to some persistent injuries, keeping him away from the big show for a couple of seasons. With those injuries behind him, and a great first two races of the 2024 calendar, it's looking to be a great season for the Northern California native.
photo

Marco Osborne
Age: 32
Height: 183 cm / 6'0"
Weight: 88.5 kg / 195 lb
Residence: Verdi, Nevada
Sponsors: Transition Bikes, Fox, WTB, Smith, Shimano, Enduro Bearings, Ablis CBD, Send it Randy, Leatt
Instagram:@marco0sborne92

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Fresh off course, and still caked in it.

Bike Details:
Frame: Transition Spire, Large
Fork: Fox 38, 170mm, Grip X2 damper | 97 psi, 2 spacers | LSC 5, HSC 5, HSR 4, LSR 4
Shock: Fox DHX2, 550# spring | LSC 9, HSC 5, LSR 11, HSR 5
Wheels: WTB KOM Tough i30 front | HTZ i25 rear | White Industries hubs | Built by Gravy Wheels
Tires: WTB Vigilante 2.5 High Grip/Tough front | Vigilante 2.3 Fast/Tough rear | Pepi's Tire Noodle rear
Dropper: Fox Transfer
Brakes: Shimano XTR levers with Saint calipers, 203mm rotors
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR Medium Cage
Bars: Deity Highside, 50mm rise, 760mm wide
Stem: PRO 45mm
Grips: WTB Moto-X
Saddle: WTB Volt, 135mm

Shock settings are from closed.




photo
Small detail, but I like a cassette to be smaller than the rear rotor.

photo
Marco keeping it old school with the EWS frame protection.

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2.3 WTB Vigilante for precision and speed.
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WTB's Moto-X grips are an uncommon site.

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Sports taco.

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#oncoil

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Cockpit is nice and tall.
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Plus it's clean and electricity-free.

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Words to live by.

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Relatively narrow i25 rear rim.
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And a wider i30 up front.

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Another American vying for top spot in the EDR ranks.

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Randy's Rig.



More photos can be found in the album here.

Author Info:
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Member since Dec 25, 2016
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140 Comments
  • 114 1
 This is how bikes should be
  • 15 1
 Well, it’s how my bike is, but as for other people, some folks like gadgetry.
  • 6 32
flag h8terbike999 (May 21, 2024 at 21:02) (Below Threshold)
 Seat angle is slack af
  • 8 1
 @h8terbike999: it’s actually steep. Effective seat tube angle is >78 degree with the headset angle adjust.
  • 5 22
flag h8terbike999 (May 21, 2024 at 21:46) (Below Threshold)
 @Murphius: how could that be steep the seat is hanging over the middle of the rear wheel, not sure how transition calculated 78
  • 12 0
 There's something about this bike.. It's nothing special, old school, looks like a Session kind of the bike, but to me, one of the prettiest bikes out there
  • 4 6
 except kashima.
  • 13 2
 @h8terbike999: yeah, you’re right. They completely just made it up a number and put it in their geo chart.
  • 9 0
 @h8terbike999: The nose of the saddle is over the BB,not even close to the "middle of the rear wheel"
  • 3 15
flag h8terbike999 (May 22, 2024 at 6:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Murphius: unfortunately a lot of companies do, the effective sta isn’t what they claim
  • 3 9
flag rad8 (May 22, 2024 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 @h8terbike999: yeah this is the only drawback to Transition frames - the actual seat tube angle is way too slack. So when you raise the post the saddle goes way back (beyond the quoted ST angle), precisely in the situation where you want it forward. I also find it annoying to have the seat go forward when slammed down. And it seems that it is just an aesthetic part of the design, so if they steepened the actual ST angle it would be nearly perfect.
  • 6 0
 @h8terbike999: can confirm, not slack. I wouldn’t want it any steeper.
  • 2 0
 @h8terbike999: Effective seat angle is measured from the BB to the top of the seat tube. TR I think estimates a rough saddle height and uses that for their measurement. What you see on the physical frame is the actual seat angle. That's why people comment on actual vs effective seat angles because with more offset, the higher the saddle, the slacker the actual angle gets relative to the BB.
  • 8 0
 @h8terbike999: I have a Spire and it's the only bike in a long while I haven't slammed my seat all the way forward on the end of the rails on the seat clamp. Actual seat angle in practice is quite steep. Looking at Marco's bike he appears to have his saddle quite far back on the rails. Maybe he has long femurs or is just used to that. Doesn't seem to be hurting him.
  • 2 1
 @banzonam: Hahaha and because of the difference between effective and actual seat angles we are having two different conversations. Short people are riding steep effective seat angles and tall people are riding slack effective seat angles. Short person: "it's steep and too forward, my little arms get tired"; tall person: "I can't climb properly while I'm falling off the back of the bike, even with my powerful arms"; and they've been arguing about it ever since frames have been made with interrupted seat tubes
  • 3 5
 @rad8: wish they’d just make them all 90 deg and we’d be done with it
  • 1 0
 @h8terbike999: "hanging over the middle of the rear wheel"? The top/center of the post is directly over the frontmost point of the rim. You need to look into a new monitor or something.
  • 1 0
 @heatproofgenie: same. I have my saddle slid pretty far back on my spire and almost all the way forward on my Ripmo (6 ft with shorter legs on a large frame)
  • 1 0
 @h8terbike999: the middle of the rear is located at the axle..the saddle is clearly not above the axle
  • 1 0
 @heatproofgenie: Just for frame of reference: the bike for me is the Patrol... 2019, 2020, 2023, and in both L and XL sizes. It's the best of the best for me. I just wish I could try it with a steeper actual seat tube angle - like straight up from the bb at 78 degrees
  • 47 0
 Totally could be wrong here but I feel like……. When edr dies, and American enduro pulls more heavy North American sponsors, so as to be able to award more prize money to pros, the American enduro scene will GO OFF, & eventually bring the euros over for racing our insane tracks.

Marco rules.
  • 8 0
 BME and NAEC are going off this year. Just a matter of time.
  • 3 5
 USA is way too big to have an ews level series, more regional races be rad though
  • 5 0
 @h8terbike999: while I see your point and as a racer felt that pain, you have to know your USA dh history to know that the modern wc grew out of us dh. A massive old us dh organization that was once known as NORBA.
Was NORBA too big to last? That’s another topic. But the USA is so big, and let be honest here, north America is so varied for terrain , but no planes required to make a massive 15 race series, that it’s actually exactly what everyone is looking for ……
  • 7 0
 @LukeDeGriselles: Really?? Round 1 had 111 racers and Round 2 had 91??? Not really going off???
  • 2 0
 @Tormy: compare that to the Southern Enduro in the UK that had over 300 entrants for Round 1
  • 3 0
 @Tormy: Yeah thats not great. The Cascadia Dirt Cup just had 384 racers at the first round though.
  • 3 1
 A proper professional North American enduro series would be excellent. You could hold most of it in BC/Alberta/Western USA without any trouble at all - and then have a handful of rounds on the east coast US/Canada at the start or end of the season. Definitely wouldn't be any harder than what they've been doing in Europe.
  • 7 1
 @ericolsen: Aren't those events hyper over-priced? I feel like the CDC and Canadian Enduro Series are like half what those ones cost per race.

Edit: yep, 270 USD per race for BME - jesus f*cking christ. NAEC is $240 usd.

By contrast CDC events are amazing Enduro events with big days of racing on amazing tracks, and they're $125 usd.
  • 1 0
 @HankHank: 44.50 pounds for registration. Yeah, it's no wonder those US events aren't seeing 300 entrants when the registration is triple or more compared to a race in the UK.
  • 1 2
 @HankHank: welcome to American greed
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: Yup. That was such a fun day at Post.
  • 2 0
 @LukeDeGriselles: not if they keep racing Nebo
  • 2 0
 @kirny6: all of this is correct. And good feedback for any entrepreneur that would have the insight to throw down on that kinda of wide sweeping series. I hated paying that much to race for a weekend when a Nwcup was so much less cash and so much more riding. Maybe the whole idea becomes Canadian 2nd coming of NORBA- enduro— and that would be very cool too. Remember super D? It was never viable internationally, but as a local race format it was fun and vibrant and interesting , like enduro. Maybe DH is just the purest form of mountain bike racing ? Maybe Steve Peat was right all those years ago…… maybe the uci really does suck.
  • 34 4
 I’m most impressed the WTB rims didn’t fold after a days riding like their rims are known for
  • 5 15
flag orphan (May 21, 2024 at 17:23) (Below Threshold)
 especially since the pic called his I25 rear rim "relatively narrow" -relative to what ?? the taco he ate maybe
  • 14 0
 @orphan: relative to his front rim
  • 5 0
 The HTZ is the "ebike" specific rim with extra reinforcement and thicker rim material. Very chunky rim too, but solid.
  • 28 0
 That ain’t no AXS Reverb
  • 66 0
 You can tell cuz of the way it isn't
  • 3 0
 It ain’t 150mm either
  • 15 0
 It's a space station
  • 4 0
 I can tell because of the pixels
  • 28 0
 Running a +1 degree headset? Well played.
  • 14 1
 Great eye. Missed that. Super interesting and old school.
  • 3 0
 Also looks as though the shock is in the low position, which partially cancels out the +1 headset
  • 13 3
 We ran our sentinels with +1. They are a much better bike with a steeper head tube.
  • 2 0
 @idontknowwhatiexpected: yeah should sit at 63.5 now which is probably a lot more usable for an enduro race.
  • 1 0
 What’s the Headset make/model? I think I’ve gotta try this on my Spire.
  • 5 1
 @taurausmountain: We'll we just put a +1 headset.... the bike is much more balanced. They had a tendency to want you to 'swing off the back' but on anything other than steep trails the front of the bike was vague and thats why people have used +1's really helps them.
  • 3 0
 Did they remove this point from the article? I think it makes a lot of sense for a race bike
  • 5 0
 @taurausmountain: works components are what we used. - they make a couple different ones for different size headtube lengths so just double check yourself. zs56-zs56 for the spire.
www.workscomponents.co.uk/10-degree-zs56-zs56-angle-headset--to-suit-tapered-steerer-tube-1888-p.asp
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: I hope they make one for the aluminum patrol as well!!
  • 1 0
 @taurausmountain: I ran a +1 for about 6 months. It does make the steering a bit more snappy and shortens the wheelbase which I liked in flatter terrain. I was also able to run a short stroked shock (60mm) with max volume spacers in the low position without pedal strikes. The result was a more playful spire with 160mm rear travel and 63.5 head angle. I’ve gone back and forth between setups and really like them both for different reasons.
  • 1 0
 @makemymountain: They make something for everything that uses a cup style headset pretty much2
  • 3 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: +1 on a transition is still below 64 degrees probably
  • 1 2
 @HeatedRotor: well done. That's why I kind of preferred the Smuggler over the Sentinel, even if the V2 Smuggler actually deserves a - 1° (65 vs 66°) whereas the Sentinel definitely needs a +1° (64,5 vs 63,5°).
  • 5 0
 Running a +1 deg headset in the low position on my Spire as well. Actually it only adds 075 degrees when you calculate in the shift of the frame. Rides well in this configuration. A bit more intuitive. You can steer with your feet instead of always thinking about putting weight on the front.
  • 3 0
 @basken: The only moments I don't love the Spire are in slower speed, downhill switchbacks or tighter tech turns. It feels like I still haven't figured out how to push/muscle the bike through them and end up hesitating too much.

Will bumping the HA help that at all? It seems like it should but also maybe not really and I just need to try harder?
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: I put a +1 in my Sentinel and it feels pretty good .
  • 1 0
 @basken:
@HeatedRotor
Would you say the HA steepening was beneficial because of pure HA/trail related differences, or more because of the shortening of the front center putting more weight on the front wheel?
  • 2 2
 @Uuno: Steepening HA with an angleset actually makes front center (reach) longer by a small amount.
  • 1 0
 @taurausmountain: works components
  • 4 0
 @heatproofgenie: the front center is a measurement from the bottom bracket to the front axle… steepening the HA shortens the front center and the overall wheelbase.
  • 1 0
 @brookscurran: Good point, you are right. Reach is lengthened but FC reduced. So many times I see reach and FC used interchangeably I just went with that.
  • 1 0
 @bigwheels87: had the exact issues with the spire and slapped one of these +1 works headset. Spire has a long wheelbase but the headset definitely helped in those tighter switchbacks. Personally don’t feel any negatives with the headset
  • 1 0
 @Jodaro: thanks! This is the description I was curious about.
  • 27 0
 #cablesaintdead
  • 9 0
 Love how electronic controls came out and PB talks about how 'clean' it makes the cockpit. Now a full cable set-up is praised as "clean".
  • 7 0
 I'm a fan of full mechanical mtbs.
  • 14 0
 Now this is a bike without all those cr2032 batteries loll
  • 10 4
 Pepsi’s Tire Noodle sounds like something a guy with that haircut and mustache would do to your cousin Nancy, after you invited your dirtbag friend to your family barbecue
  • 2 1
 LOL
  • 6 0
 Ermmm.... doesn't he know that those WTB rims will turn to dust as soon as you look at them?! The PB comments said so.
  • 2 0
 anyone know the story of the black coils that have been popping up on all of the new fox shocks lately? aside from getting rid of the hideous orange, i wonder if there's anything else to them. the coils look thinner to me but maybe that's just the color messing with my eyes.
  • 3 1
 Possibly because they couldn't get gold coils?
  • 5 0
 the thought of a gold coil just made me throw up in my mouth a little
  • 3 0
 Marco is such a beast. I saw his absolute savage POV footage from one of my local trails and it made me re-evaluate my choice of hobby (i'm average and i'm not f***ing leaving). SEND IT RANDY!
  • 6 0
 Randy really sent it
  • 6 2
 That bike is pure 'merica. Watched Randy send it at TDS, then he lit up Poland. Love this guy.
  • 5 0
 No one is wondering what the tacos in Poland taste like?
  • 1 0
 The narrov rim suprises me, some DHers also ride on 25mm. Nice bike...i know i will get stoned here for this, and i accept the author's obvious bias: but i would prefer it without a derailleur hanger and ...a cockpit with cables is not cleanER.... ;-)
  • 4 0
 In that one pic with his bio Marco sure looks like Mr. Ballen.
  • 4 0
 I have a senditall and it rips. Transition is a rad company
  • 3 0
 The bike check the people wanted! It's been cool to see him back from injury and back at the front.
  • 4 0
 On WTB Vigis too...my man
  • 1 1
 The bike looks great except for the SE Beast Mode gold fork. The Fox marketing department must assume MTB'ers are insecure and need lots of attention. "Everyone, look at me, my fork is gold!"

Actually, now that I think about it, Fox is brilliant! The gold audience will smother social media with their bright, blingy, new bike part. "Let your customers work for you", that's what I always say.
  • 1 1
 Is WTB ever going to restock the 27.5 Vigilante in fast rolling rubber? I've been looking for months and the only one I can seem to find is a 27.5 fat tire, which most of us don't ride.
  • 4 0
 No bike weight?
  • 5 4
 Very heavy.
  • 1 0
 @headshot: The Spire is a light bike for it's class, 32/33lbs in some cases. I would guess this build is around 35lbs which is pretty darn reasonable.
  • 13 0
 35.6 lbs
  • 2 1
 20 years I’ve been riding and that’s the first time seeing anyone actually run these grips. Must’ve gotten a deal on them lol
  • 3 0
 How does he manage to even finish without batteries?!?
  • 21 1
 That's what my wife said.
  • 1 0
 He's on to something going with a faster-rolling setup rather and super-soft tires on both ends. For the rest of us mere mortals, that usually works out better, too.
  • 1 0
 Marco is rad. Move the top title so the letter "S" isn't blocking his mean mug haha.
  • 2 0
 Pumped to see Marco riding so well! Keep it up!
  • 6 5
 I’ve never really cared for gold coloured stuff. This years Fox forks confirm that. Gaaa.
  • 1 0
 Seems like he is running his shifter cable externally alongside his rear brake cable, cheeky move there.
  • 3 0
 The real pro move is twisting the housing and hose around one another rather than using zip ties or cable clips. Been doing this on my own bikes for years, even inspired a few friends to try it. Keeps everything nice and quiet, plus it looks so clean and cool and twisty.
  • 1 0
 The cable enters the frame just below the brake hose, the last photo in the linked album shows it a bit better.
  • 1 0
 @getschwifty: spiral wrap for the win…
  • 2 0
 The Spire is heck of a bike. Love mine
  • 1 0
 I have the same EWS frame protection on my Spire!

*talent not included :/
  • 2 0
 Transition does bikes right. Love it
  • 1 0
 Is he running a 10-45t cassette? I think my 10-51 is about the same size as a 203 rotor.
  • 2 0
 Here for it!
  • 1 0
 Oh I see it moves as you expand the browser screen. :/
  • 1 0
 W rig. i got a spire and it goes
  • 1 0
 Pepi’s…thank you autocorrect
  • 1 0
 That front wheel is NICE!
  • 1 0
 Vigilante comes in a 2.3?
  • 1 3
 They look very similar to my 2.5 though, typo?
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: the 2.3 is the original Vigilante, the OG!
  • 1 0
 First bike I've seen that the gold forks look good on
  • 1 0
 *uncommon sight

You're welcome.
  • 1 0
 Crazy he is listed as unsponsored on the UCI results list.
  • 1 0
 Marco has what it takes to go all the way. Send It Randy!
  • 1 0
 I would have thought Henry would chime in by now.
  • 1 0
 You love to see it
  • 1 1
 That is not caked in mud!
  • 1 0
 Love this bike
  • 1 0
 CERTIFIED MAD DAWG
  • 1 0
 86/69 FTW Randy!
  • 1 0
 Savage bike.
  • 1 4
 Looks like a Liv/Giant/Gekko to me.
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